How You Live
- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Aug
- All the World
- Fearless Heart
- How You Live (Turn Up the Music)
- Any Way
- He Believes in You
- You Are Good
- On God's Green Earth
- Heal the Wound
- Broken Thing
- Because You Are
- Before the Throne of Grace
Like many veteran groups in recent years, Point of Grace has fallen victim to shifting paradigms in Christian music. From their 1993 debut through 2001's Free to Fly, the quartet was a radio phenomenon, scoring an unprecedented 26 No. 1 singles. That streak ended inexplicably with 2004's I Choose You, an album that yielded not one chart-topper for the women. The album itself wasn't really to blame, offering more of the same harmony-laden pop that made Point of Grace famous. For whatever reason, the industry suddenly seemed to move past their sound.
Which left the group with an important decision: stay the course or change with the times. The result is How You Live, an ever-so-slight stylistic detour into uncharted territory. The disc is just as adult contemporary as anything Point of Grace has done in the past, produced to pristine perfection by pop guru Brown Bannister (Avalon, Third Day). But now the inspiration isn't so much modern pop, inspirational, or light R&B—it's country pop.
No, the ladies haven't gone western, but several of the disc's selections carry a marked Nashville influence. The motivational title track, for example, is a terrific country-pop anthem about living life to the fullest, not unlike the radio-readiness of Martina McBride. The most twangy tune of all is "Any Way," a track rife with warm acoustics, fiddles, pedal steel, and banjo, though elsewhere the country influence is limited to vocal styling and phrasing (more pop than country, like much of Faith Hill's music).
For the rest of How You Live, Point of Grace is back to their bread-and-butter AC pop. And for the most part, it's slick and pretty, like the innocuous "He Believes in You," the soaring pop/rock of "Broken Thing," the balladry of "Heal the Wound," and the hymn-like "Because You Are." It's the stuff these 15-year veterans do best—not innovative, but still well produced and hard to fault or dislike. Point of Grace has done its part; now time will tell if fans and radio will be as receptive as they once were.